Few California wineries have caught our attention quite like Jason Edward Charles' Vinca Minor project. Some of our favorite wines in the world come from the Golden State, but what it's often lacking is that middle tier of delicious, thoughtfully made wines that are affordable enough to open on a weeknight. Jason excels at exactly this sort of wine, and since we first tasted them last year, they've become mainstays on our shelves. More than a few times, after popping something disappointing with dinner, it's a Vinca Minor bottle we open to save the night!
Like all great wines, the story of Vinca Minor begins with the vineyards. Vinca Minor winemaker Jason Edward Charles works exclusively with organic growers, and farms some small plots organically himself, in some of California's most temperate, coastal climates. Every wine we've had from Jason has been fantastic, but he has a special touch with Mendocino Carignan, which makes it into all three wines on offer today. The notoriously late-ripening Carignan married to the cool climate and high elevation of Mendocino combine to make juicy, refreshing wines in which the warmth of the California sun is still patently evident. We can't get enough.
Jason came to wine through a circuitous route. Originally from Detroit, he traveled the world working as a photographer before working in Manhattan restaurants, surrounded by passionate sommeliers and wine drinkers. After doing his first harvest in Northern California, he gave up the restaurant game and never looked back. He established Vinca Minor in 2013 after learning every aspect of farming and winemaking. In addition to the organic sourcing, Jason brings to his wines a very hands-off approach in the cellar. All fermentations occur spontaneously, wines are never fined or filtered, and sulfur is only added in small amounts, if at all.
There's an unadorned, pure, just honestly delicious quality to the Vinca Minor wines that calls to mind some of our favorite, reliably great producers like the Loire's Bernard Baudry or Sicily's COS. They're not trophy wines, trying to wow critics or age for decades in the cellar. But they are the sorts of wines that you just know are going to deliver every time you pop the cork on one, and we like to have a healthy stash of them on-hand at all times. We're sure you will too!